Astrid and Judah Hertz were engaged on Valentine's Day amidst the tranquility of their beach house, and as soon as they shared the happy news, some close friends offered up their sprawling Bel Air, California, estate for the wedding. The bride and groom could not have been more touched; the property was an ideal backdrop for the very personal celebration they envisioned, one that brought an intimate group of 100 friends and loved ones together in timeless style.
Forgoing the presence of bridesmaids and groomsmen to "keep the ceremony simple," Astrid spent the hours before her wedding getting ready with her best friends Tenya, Adriana, and actress Daryl Hannah. Astrid, wearing an elegant, fitted jacket and ball skirt, did not see Judah until the ceremony, and remembers holding her mother's hand before she and Astrid's father walked her down the aisle. The bride and groom exchanged vows in a traditional Jewish ceremony as the sun began to set behind the surrounding hills.
"I wanted our wedding to be elegant without being stiff. Old Hollywood came to mind," explains Astrid. The reception was held under a tent draped dramatically with ecru fabric, trimmed in chocolate brown, and lit from within by hanging crystal chandeliers and delicate wall sconces. As guests entered, they found their table assignments beneath a tall tree-like arrangement of branches covered with red orchid blooms. Each dinner table was surrounded by chocolate brown chairs and covered in burgundy linens and beaded overlays, which lent "romantic warmth" to the space. The oversized centerpieces were like abundant, multi-colored rose bushes accented by fall touches of hydrangea and berries. Three additional flowerpots filled with single varieties of orchids and roses encircled the centerpiece vases. "I loved these," says Astrid.
The kosher dinner was in keeping with the event's timelessness, and included classic dishes such as chicken Kiev and baby lamb chops. Wild mushroom ravioli and a salad of field greens, fennel, Asian pears, pistachios, and pomegranates paid tribute to the season. But the piece de resistance was the wedding cake. The white three-layer cake was presented atop a tufted cushion, which lay on an overlay made entirely of rose petals. "It was a surprise and so beautiful," says Astrid. "When people talk of our wedding, it is the first thing they mention." The cake itself was also a hit. "It is not easy to find a beautiful kosher wedding cake, but the French bakery did a wonderful job," asserts the bride.
The dance floor was bordered by low hedges of greenery and framed by scrolling iron gates, bringing a garden-like feel to the bustling area. The guests enjoyed a variety of music - a klezmer band performed traditional Hebrew songs, another played Big Band standards, and a salsa band kept the dance floor humming all night long. Astrid and Judah - when not taking part in the action - had a perfect view of the festivities from a romantic sweetheart table arranged front and center.
As everyone left for the evening they were encouraged to fill small bags - each of which was personalized with wishes of "Sweet Dreams" - with goodies from a decadent candy table. It was a perfect night for the newlyweds: personal, joyous, and supremely elegant. They were able to enjoy every moment of the celebration because they allowed a professional coordinator to wrestle with the logistics. "Hire a wedding planner!" advises the bride. "You can be as involved as you want to be without the stress. Not to mention," she adds, "Everything ran like clockwork!"